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Academe — CFO Survey Reveals Doubts About Financial Sustainability

July 12, 2013 Comments off

CFO Survey Reveals Doubts About Financial Sustainability
Source: Inside Higher Ed and Gallup

Hardly a day goes by without some author or commentator predicting that the end is nigh for higher education, or significant portions of it. Such predictions understandably grate on many administrators and professors.

But what do those with the closest eyes on their own institutions’ bottom lines — chief college and university business officers — think? Turns out they’re not particularly upbeat, either — about their own colleges’ futures or the higher education landscape more generally.

In a new survey by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, barely a quarter of campus chief financial officers (27 percent) express strong confidence in the viability of their institution’s financial model over five years, and that number drops in half (to 13 percent) when they are asked to look out over a 10-year horizon.
Asked to assess the sustainability of the business models of various sectors of higher education, they take a more negative than positive view on several of them (nonselective private and non-flagship public institutions, and for-profit colleges).

And more than 6 in 10 CFOs disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that “reports that a significant number of higher education institutions are facing existential financial crisis are overblown.”

“This is a ‘Houston, we have a problem’ report,” says Jane Wellman, a higher education finance expert. “People who know what they’re talking about think we have a problem down the road if some things don’t get fixed.”

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Jobs, Value and Affirmative Action: A Survey of Parents About College

March 20, 2013 Comments off

Jobs, Value and Affirmative Action: A Survey of Parents About College
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Study hard, and you’ll get into the college of your dreams.

It’s debatable whether that advice — given to generations of American children — was ever really true. But the first Inside Higher Ed poll of parents of pre-college students suggests that the truer statement today might be “study hard and you can get into the college we can afford,” or perhaps “study hard, and we’ll help you get into a college that can find you a job.”

Only about 16 percent of parents are sure they won’t restrict colleges to which their children will apply because of concerns about costs (although another 14 percent said that it was “not very likely” that they would do so), the results show. Parents are also likelier to see vocational certificates than liberal arts degrees as leading to good jobs for their children — and they view job preparation as the top role for higher education.
And at a time that a case before the Supreme Court could limit the way colleges use affirmative action, the poll found that most parents (including most white parents) do not believe that affirmative action is costing their children spots in college.

Parental concerns about paying for college and the importance of college programs that prepare students for jobs appear to grow as children get closer to college age, the poll found.

Clashes of Money and Values: A Survey of Admissions Directors

September 22, 2011 Comments off

Clashes of Money and Values: A Survey of Admissions Directors (PDF)
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Admissions counselors like to talk about finding the right “fit” for applicants — a great match between a student’s educational and other goals and an institution’s programs. But a new survey of the senior admissions officials at colleges nationwide finds that this “fit” is, from many colleges’ point of view, increasingly about money. As evidence of that pressure, the survey found that:

  • For many colleges, a top goal of admissions directors is recruiting more students who can pay more. Among all four-year institutions, the admissions strategy judged most important over the next two or three years — driven by high figures in the public sector — was the recruitment of more out-of-state students (who at public institutions pay significantly more). The runner-up was the strategy of providing more aid for low- and middle-income students.
  • Among all sectors of higher education, there is a push to recruit more out-of-state students and international students.
  • Recruiting more “full-pay” students — those who don’t need financial aid — is seen as a key goal in public higher education, a sector traditionally known for its commitment to access. At public doctoral and master’s institutions, more admissions directors cited the recruitment of full-pay students as a key strategy than cited providing aid for low-income students. (At doctoral institutions, the gap was 47 percent to 40 percent, and at master’s institutions, the gap was 45 percent to 38 percent).
  • The interest in full-pay students is so strong that 10 percent of four-year colleges report that the full-pay students they are admitting have lower grades and test scores than do other admitted applicants.
  • At community colleges, a focus on serving students who don’t have money remains central, with 66 percent of admissions directors citing that as a key strategy — more than cited any other strategy. But even in that sector, a notable minority (34 percent) said that an important strategy for the institution was attracting more full-pay students.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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